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Marketing fund to tackle veg consumption “crisis”

A new marketing fund has been launched to make veg “cool and contemporary” and encourage more children to eat their greens.

Four in five children don’t eat enough veg, according to the Food Foundation.

The new VegPower scheme promises to “transform children’s current attitude towards vegetables”. A crowdfund was launched this week in a bid to raise £100,000. Sodexo has already donated £3,000.

The money will be spent creating simple digital content to encourage consumption of healthy food.

Currently only 1.2% of food and drink advertising spend goes on vegetables, according to research by the Food Foundation. The new campaigns will therefore offer a refreshing alternative to the junk food adverts that children are bombarded with.

Dan Parker, a former advertising executive, is one of the creative experts involved.

He said: “People buy happiness not health, so this is no longer about the health message and cartoon vegetables with smiley faces. It’s about making veg cool and contemporary in a way that means kids don’t need to be bribed with dessert to finish their greens.”

Celebrity chefs Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall are amongst those backing the initiative.

The aim is for the scheme to eventually be fully funded by government and the food industry. The Food Foundation said there could be considerable cost savings for the NHS if children can be encouraged to eat more healthily.

There will also support for farmers to produce more vegetables in the UK. There are concerns that vegetable production will fall after Brexit as producers struggle to find workers.